What To Do With A Crying Child Part 2
Welcome to another episode of Full Frontal Fatherhood. Last week, I spoke to you about how to be in your feelings, and therefore how to be calm with your baby when they are crying. This week, I want to give you six concrete things that you can do to help your crying child once you have that calm presence in yourself. If you haven’t seen that video, I highly recommend that you watch it because it really is the foundation for everything else you do.
How To Deal with a Crying Baby or Child:
1. They need contact. They’re so dependent and vulnerable. They need your body, your nervous system to soothe and being held by you makes a great difference. It is quite normal for a baby to cry for over an hour and a half a day and it’s quite normal for us as parents to feel totally crazed by that. Can you find that calm presence in yourself and hold them and let them cry, knowing that that’s really what they need? We don’t need to stop the crying. We need to support them to get their feelings out.
2. Step two is movement. Most babies are really used to moving around inside their moms, so as you’re holding your child, move around. Either rock or walk. Go for a walk around the neighborhood. Bounce on a big ergo ball. Figure out what your child wants. It’s different for every child. Some like to be swung in your arm. Play around. Find your way.
3. Sing. Make noise. Talk to them. Just whatever silly song you remember or whatever you can make up. The sounds are soothing.
4. Give them something to suck on. For myself, rather than the pacifier, which you end up having to wean them off of, just give them your finger. By placing your clean finger on the roof of their mouth, they’ll be triggered to suck and this often really helps them to calm down.
5. Go ahead and check their diaper. At some point while you’re holding them, moving them, just take a moment to see. Obviously it’s uncomfortable for most babies to be in their unchanged diaper, so find your way to enjoy that experience. Learn how to do it well. Learn which diapers work best for your child.
6. Maybe they actually do need to be fed. If you have the ability and you learn how to feed them, or if they’re nursing, then that’s the point when you do need to hand your child off to your partner.
With all these things, it gives you a lot of ways to soothe your child and the reality is that we as fathers are just as capable, outside of nursing, of soothing and nurturing. There are also some great ideas over at happiestbaby.com. They’ve developed a number of other techniques which are really valuable.
Sometimes there is something physically happening for babies and they do need medical attention. I’ll do a subsequent video on colicky babies and how to handle that, but know that you may need to get outside assistance, particularly if your baby’s crying over three hours a day for multiple days.
Thank you for joining me for another episode of Full Frontal Fatherhood. If you like this video, please share with your friends. If you’re not already there, head over to fullfrontalfatherhood.com and I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts about how to deal with a crying baby. Please join us in the conversation below.
Thank you, and I’ll talk to you next Friday.